Local

Juggling school numbers

About 20 people from a crowd of 75 pleaded their cases to the Rock Hill school board Monday night at a public forum on school reassignment.

Grievances centered on transportation issues and frequent rezonings.

Parents expressed thanks for the opportunity to have a say but begged the board to send their children to schools that are close to their homes and where their children's friends and neighbors also attend.

"The biggest issue is transportation," said Cindy Geouge, who lives off Reservation Road and has been rezoned to send her rising freshman son to South Pointe. "It's just going to be a huge change for them, for me, for travel time and for gas."

This is the first time elementary, middle and high schools all have been reassigned at the same time, school board chairman Bob Norwood said.

The purpose of the reassignment is to fill Mount Holly Elementary and Dutchman Creek Middle, opening next year, and to alleviate overcrowding at Old Pointe Elementary and Rock Hill High.

In all, 3,476 students would be moved, said Susan York, director of school climate. That number is based on students attending school in Rock Hill as of 15 days into the current school year.

Of those students who might be moved, 1,715 are in elementary school, 1,381 are in middle school and 380 are in high school.

Elementary school students who were moved during reassignment for India Hook will not be moved, nor will high school students who were moved when reassignments were made for South Pointe, York said.

Rising fifth-, eighth-, 11th- and 12th-graders likely will be allowed to stay at their current schools, Norwood said.

Dana Crocker, whose son attends Rawlinson Road Middle School but could be rezoned to Sullivan, said it is unfair to ask parents to switch from one dress code to another at the middle schools.

"I spent time and money getting his wardrobe to fit school code," she said. "If we get rezoned, more than half the shirts in his closet won't fit the school code."

Her request to have one dress code at all of the district's middle schools received a loud round of applause from the audience.

The reassignment proposals are not final. The board still must discuss them, make any necessary changes and vote on approval.

District officials would like to have approval this year so they can get the word out to parents during second semester.

Finley Road, India Hook, Richmond Drive, Rosewood, Sunset Park and Sylvia Circle are the only schools not affected by the proposed reassignments.

To see the proposed maps visit www.rock-hill.k12.sc.us, school offices or the district office.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Oct. 8: The school board will discuss the reassignment proposals

Oct. 22: The school board is expected to vote on the maps

If the maps are approved, 110 students would move out of Old Pointe Elementary School on Old Pointe School Road. Old Pointe still would have the second-highest enrollment of the elementary schools, with a projected 608 students attending in 2008-2009.

The maps suggest moving 380 students out of Rock Hill High School on Springdale Road. The majority would move to South Pointe High School on Neely Road. More than 2,100 students attend Rock Hill High, making enrollment close to what it was before South Pointe was built.

According to the proposed maps, 778 students would be moved to Dutchman Creek Middle School, which will open off Mount Gallant Road in the fall of 2008. Including projected growth, enrollment at Dutchman Creek is estimated to be 848 students.

The plan calls for 557 students to be moved to Mount Holly Elementary School, which is scheduled to open off Porter Road next fall. When growth is factored in, that puts the projected fall enrollment of Mount Holly at 562 students.

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